• Responsible breeders matter.
    Where you get your puppy matters. How your puppy is raised before you get them matters. Responsible breeders matter. Responsible breeders put a lot of effort into the puppies that they raise to ensure that they are successful in their new homes. Things like exposing them to new objects, surfaces and noises to ensure thatContinue reading “Responsible breeders matter.”
  • Another Smudge update!
    Mud’s brother, Smudge, is busy learning all sorts of really cool things with his foster, Crystal Wing. Check out this video! You can follow their adventures daily by checking her out at
  • More to foundation than meets the eye
    There’s a lot more to a foundation behavior than what meets the eye. Most of the foundation behaviors I train are taught for the conceptual benefit rather than the use of the behavior itself. I write a lot about using concepts in training in an old blog post here, so if you haven’t read thatContinue reading “More to foundation than meets the eye”
  • A million tiny swinging pendulums
    Dog training is just one big battle of trying to stabilize a million tiny swinging pendulums. Each thing we train our dogs has extreme versions of itself on either side of the pendulum. When we focus on fixing one part of the problem, often the pendulum ends up swinging too far in the other direction.Continue reading “A million tiny swinging pendulums”
  • Sibling Syndrome?
    Social media is a great thing, it unites us in times of social isolation and aids in our creativity when our thoughts are stubbornly stagnant. We can use social media to gain a deeper understanding of dogs, training or even specific breeds and sports. It can help us connect to our puppy’s breeder, handlers ofContinue reading “Sibling Syndrome?”
  • Taking advantage of your environment
    It’s tough to find socialization opportunities when it’s a pandemic and you live out in the country. But, they are there if you look close enough. Socialization isn’t just exclusive to social interactions between your dog and other dogs or people. A large part of socialization includes getting your puppy comfortable and confident in allContinue reading “Taking advantage of your environment”
  • Mud Puppy to Dog Interaction
    It’s not a secret that I have a lot of dogs. But it may be less known that I am very particular about how puppies in my care interact with those dogs. Since my main focus is to create a good sport/performance foundation, I need to be careful how puppies learn to utilize and conserveContinue reading “Mud Puppy to Dog Interaction”
  • Shaping Behaviors
    I love to free-shape behaviors. But I must admit, I’m a cheater when I free-shape, I utilize reward placement, training loops and jackpots to help my dog figure out the criteria. So maybe it’s not technically free-shaping then? Let’s just call it “Cheater Shaping”. Hi, my name is Sara and I am a Cheater-Shaping Addict.Continue reading “Shaping Behaviors”
  • Boring days are good, too.
    For some of us, our daily routines have altered drastically due to the pandemic. Some of us are working from home, or not working at all. This change has resulted in a different routine for our dogs, one that has their beloved family members at their side constantly. It’s a great time to have aContinue reading “Boring days are good, too.”
  • Smudge
    Mud’s brother Smudge is being fostered by my good friend and training partner, Crystal Wing. She is a fantastic dog trainer and is dedicated to giving him a well-rounded foundation. Crystal has done a great job documenting each day with him and what they’ve been working on. I asked her to put together something showingContinue reading “Smudge”
  • Mud Puppy Goes Swimming!
    Mud puppy had another adventure day yesterday! We started the day working on the hold foundation exercise that we introduced the previous day. This time, we switched to a new toy that he hasn’t played with before, one that would allow me to present it in a way that looks similar to how I wouldContinue reading “Mud Puppy Goes Swimming!”
  • The Mud Puppy Chronicles
    We are living in a unique time, one where our normal training patterns might be halted due to the need to stay isolated from one another. It is difficult to have a puppy right now, socialization opportunities are difficult to come by. But, with a bit of creativity and dedication, we can still give ourContinue reading “The Mud Puppy Chronicles”
  • Change
    Change doesn’t just happen. It doesn’t matter if the change is something insignificant like changing the TV channel or if it’s something life-altering such as changing careers or moving. Change is the result of a motivating force that causes us to seek something better, a force that makes us pursue a different path for a moreContinue reading “Change”
  • Dog Training and Self Confidence
    I’m sure that every career is similar in terms of impact towards self-confidence to an extent, but my only firsthand experience is my career as a dog trainer, and that experience has been an emotional roller coaster. I began dog training when I was young, and as I grew, so did my self-confidence. By theContinue reading “Dog Training and Self Confidence”
  • New Performance Puppy Class!
    We have a new puppy class geared towards the performance prospect on the calendar! I have had the privilege to raise a number of puppies of different breeds and have developed a foundation program that I’m proud of and want to share with the dog sport community.  As most of you know, my dogs trainContinue reading “New Performance Puppy Class!”
  • Be Nicer
    There is only one thing that we really have control of in this world: how we choose to act, whether it’s with another human being or with the animals in our lives. True, we get to control the choices that we make, but often, those decisions are forced upon us. We are required to makeContinue reading “Be Nicer”
  • It’s raining puppies…
    You would think that life with a bazillion dogs was crazy enough, but I seem to be a glutton for insanity.  My household includes my newly adopted 7 month old tri-pawd border collie, Spree, my 5 month old home-bred koolie keeper puppy, Brilliant, and a new addition: a 8 week old belgian malinois puppy. CreatureContinue reading “It’s raining puppies…”
  • Decisions
      We are told that decisions can be right or wrong. We fixate on making the correct decisions in our lives and in regards to the well-being and training of our dogs.  We analyze, make lists of pros versus cons, fret over the consequences at stake.  After the decision is made, we idolize the alternativeContinue reading “Decisions”
  • Australia
      Summer is a busy time for people in my line of work.  Summer means shows, crowds, sweat in the eyes, tired dogs and exhausted trainers. The past three seasons, I’ve dutifully limited my time off, ensuring that I pull my share of the load at work.  This has led to a bit of aContinue reading “Australia”
  • Blog Updated
    It’s been awhile. My goal for the next six months is to maintain this blog in a more active fashion. In order to meet that goal, there will posts more of what I’ve done in the past as well as some creative topics. I will say that the majority will be dog-related, because let’s beContinue reading “Blog Updated”
  • Breather Behaviors
    We all have seen it, even though we might not have realized it at the time. A dog that doesn’t out a toy when asked, one that takes a victory lap instead of returning to his handler after catching a frisbee or perhaps one that habitually sniffs the ground between drill repetitions. These are allContinue reading “Breather Behaviors”
  • Duration
    Working with operant dogs often leads to dogs that are quick to offer a behavior but lack stillness and commitment within each exercise.  This is a skill that needs to be taught and developed over time and can be difficult for some dogs.  Famous, my 18 month old malinois, shows great commitment to even new behaviorsContinue reading “Duration”
  • Training Session Feel
    One of the biggest lessons that I’ve learned through my career of training dogs is to do away with goals within a single session.  I have found greater success and have built better relationships with my dogs by focusing on the overall feel of each session, rather than what was actually accomplished.  We’ll meet ourContinue reading “Training Session Feel”
  • Goals for 2016
    Part of the reason I enjoyed keeping a blog in the past was the ability to share my goals, mostly because I’d flake on them if I didn’t have a written record of what I promised. So today, on the last day of 2015, I’m going to write out my goals for each of myContinue reading “Goals for 2016”
  • Puppy Training Plan
    I’ve been asked recently for my puppy training plan, the behaviors that I think are the most important for puppies to learn.  I train behaviors in a certain order, mostly grouped by the conceptual training categories.  Each behavior builds off the concepts learned by a previous behavior. This is by no means a concrete plan.Continue reading “Puppy Training Plan”
  • Conceptual Training
    Over time I have noticed that certain behaviors are easier to teach to a dog that had previously learned related behaviors.  I also noticed that dogs who had previously learned behaviors that were similar to a new behavior that I was teaching ended up with a crisper, cleaner version that required far less polishing andContinue reading “Conceptual Training”

Follow My Blog

Get new content delivered directly to your inbox.

%d bloggers like this: